“For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy” (Lk 1:44).
When we experience a great joy we want to share it with others, just as Mary did when she conceived Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit and also heard that Elizabeth was also with child. When we unite with those we love we leap for joy, sometimes literally, as John did in the womb!
There was no one on this earth closer to Jesus than Mary. She bore him, nursed him, raised him, initiated in a motherly fashion his public ministry, held him in her arms as he was taken down from the cross, and she was with the Apostles in the upper room when the Holy Spirit descended upon them. Mary, like Jesus, was also Immaculately conceived. When her time came to leave this life, who better than Mary to have experienced the “singular participation in her Son’s resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1997, 966)?
Today we celebrate the official dogmatic constitution issued by Pope Pius XII in 1950, the Assumption of Mary, a special grace she received from her Son. Jesus is the promise and Mary is the hope that we will live eternally with our heavenly Father, for Mary is now where we will one day be, body and soul. Today is a day of great joy!
Jesus and Mary have undone the sin of Adam and Eve. They, in their continual faithful life of saying yes to the will of God, opened up heaven for us. In our darkest trials, when the storm clouds of injustice, racism, and violence gather, when a situation or conflict does not appear to be getting any better, when death may be imminent, and/or when a loved one has died, even then, death does not have the last word.
There is hope because there is a light that shines in the darkness when we echo Mary’s song“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.” (Lk 1:46-48). God is ever faithful and present to us in his mercy. May we, like Mary, ponder upon the wonderful gifts of Jesus, love, mercy, and the bestowal of his grace. May we also, like Mary, reflect the light of her Son as we experience the foretaste of heaven by receiving his love and being beacons of joy in a weary world.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us now and at the hour of our death!
Stain glass of the Assumption of Mary at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles, CA